Lumines Plus Review
Lumines is an interesting puzzle game that can best be described as ďTetris for the techno generationĒ. It began its life on the PSP and has begun making its way to other platforms, now arriving on the PS2 in the form of Lumines Plus. If youíre already a Lumines fan you wonít find all that much different in this latest version, but it still delivers that trademark frantic gameplay that hooked you in the original.
Letís start with a description of the gameplay for those new to the game. Squares made up of four smaller squares fall from the top of the screen and you can control where they land on the bottom of the screen. Each of the smaller squares can be one of two colors, and your job is to rotate and position the falling squares so as to build blocks of four or more matching smaller squares. As you play a line sweeps across the screen from left to right that eliminates matching blocks as it crosses them. Your goal is to prevent the squares from piling up to the top of the screen while trying to match as many squares as possible at a time to put together high scoring combos.
What sets Lumines Plus apart from other puzzle games is its heavy techno soundtrack. This combined with the changing backgrounds and block styles makes for a puzzle game that is also an auditory-visual experience. If you donít enjoy techno music then the game may be a little much for you to bear, but if you do youíll find yourself being sucked into a groove that will pump you up as the blocks fall down. Further integrating the puzzle gameplay with the music is the speed of the block-clearing line which varies based on the background musicís BPM. Other sound effects such as the clearing of blocks are also closely tied to the music, giving you the feeling that youíre almost a part of the soundtrack. If you love music and enjoy fast-paced puzzle play, then Lumines Plus has just what you need.
In addition to the challenge mode in which you basically play until you lose, there are single skin, time attack, and puzzle mode. Challenge mode is the only way to unlock new skins (the combination of music track, background images, and block colors and styles), but if thereís one you particularly like you can play the whole game with it in single skin mode. Time attack lets you set a time limit of 60, 180, 300, or 600 seconds, and youíre scored based on how many blocks you can clear in that time. Puzzle mode is by far the hardest mode even though it sounds simple enough in concept. The game will give you a shape or pattern that youíre required to reproduce with the falling blocks. Itís difficult to set-up the pattern while simultaneously avoiding blocking yourself off or inadvertently eliminating some of the blocks that you need to complete the pattern.
The game also includes a multiplayer game that can be played against the PS2 or another person. In this mode you play on a single board that has been divided into two by a vertical line in the center. Eliminating blocks and scoring combos will push that line towards your opponentís side of the screen, simultaneously shrinking his or her play area while increasing yours. You win this mode by forcing your opponentís blocks to stack to the top of the screen.
Lumines Plus wonít appeal to everyone, but if it sounds like your kind of game then odds are that youíll really enjoy it. Like Tetris, the game will keep you occupied as your skill at the game improves but it may lose its novelty for you once youíve gotten about as good at it as youíre going to get. Additional motivation could have been provided by online play or at least an online rankings board, but unfortunately there is no online component in the game. At the very least you should give the game a rental and check out the Lumines experience for yourself. Itís definitely not your typical button-down puzzle game.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 80%. Lumines Plus is for those who enjoy a puzzle game with a pulse.